How Berkeley County BOE Leveraged ESSER Funds to Create Efficiencies for the Next Decade
Berkeley County Schools, WV
16,000+ Transported Daily
300 School Buses
During the pandemic, masking and a shortage of drivers made it difficult for Berkeley County Schools, West Virginia to identify which students were on a given bus at any time, let alone if a student was on the correct bus or disembarked at the correct stop. The district employed a number of substitute drivers that were not familiar with the students. It was clear that a student ridership program would be necessary to effectuate contact tracing. Beyond monitoring ridership, the district needed the ability to message subgroups of parents based on which route or bus their students were assigned. Previously, messages had to be broadcast to the whole community. In addition, the district’s GPS hardware was due to sunset and required replacement.
HOW THEY SOLVED IT
The Berkeley County Board of Education (BOE) reviewed offerings from Trekker and Zonar before ultimately deciding on the Edulog/Samsara solution, which included student ridership, a parent app, driver management, and dual-facing cameras. The Edulog/Samsara partnership provided a decade-long scope and allowed the BOE to leverage available ESSER Funds for a ten-year license with a one-time fee and no annual recurring costs. The district anticipates replacing tablet hardware around Years 5-6 with no impact on the General Operating Budget.
Eric Keesecker, Executive Director of General Education Transportation Services, told The Journal, “We are super excited about (Parent Portal) because we were able to offer parents at the tips of their fingers, on their phones, information about their bus, their bus route, their student ridership, whether their student got on or not at the right stop, got off at the right stop. It does many other things, too. They can change stops if they want to. This is a much, much safer system. ” Bus drivers, particularly substitutes, will also have significant support aids available on their tablets. Digital route sheets and turn-by-turn directions will allow the district to phase out the use of paper maps and directions. The ridership functionality will alert drivers if a student boards the wrong bus or disembarks at the wrong stop.